STEVE Ball says Colchester United were determined to bring the 'right personalities' to the club, this summer.

The U's have been busy in the transfer window so far, bringing seven new signings to the JobServe Community Stadium.

More arrivals are expected before the window closes, as Hayden Mullins prepares for his first season as Colchester's permanent head coach.

And former U's boss Ball, who is now working in a player recruitment role at the club, says it was essential they signed the right characters.

Ball told the Gazette: “Several meetings have taken place with these players where you look them in the eye and you just know instantly that they’ve had the careers they’ve had because of their characters and personalities as much as their ability.

“That really was something that we had to target and Hayden (Mullins) was fully behind that.

“Hayden was part of it with me and part of it with Wayne (Brown), so he knows what was needed.

“In the year I had with John when we got to the play-offs and the Carabao Cup quarter-final, everyone knows that that group was made up of the right personalities and we lost some of them.

“I started the process of recruitment back in February so there’s been a lot that has gone into it, with the likes of Tony Humes, Jon De Souza and Joe Monks – there’s been a lot of work that has gone in."


Colchester have signed experienced quartet Alan Judge, Freddie Sears, Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse from League One neighbours Ipswich Town.

And the U's have also drafted in Frank Nouble, Luke Hannant and Cameron Coxe, as they bid to challenge at the right end of the League Two table after last season's struggles.

“Over the five years that I was an assistant and a manager, there’s been some mistakes in recruitment but that’s going to happen all the time," added former U's boss, player and assistant manager Ball.

“Tell me a club that doesn’t make a mistake in recruitment.

“But what we need to do is make those less and make better decisions.

“I think if you look at the window to date this summer, nobody can tell me that we’ve not signed some fantastic leaders, characters and proper professional players.

“I do think that the beauty of having been on the other side of it is that I do know that what you need as a player is not only ability but the right make up, the right approach, the robust nature of playing division two football is what’s required.

“I’m really positive in knowing what’s needed and there’s been loads of work done in the summer to bring the right personalities in.


“I know there’s going to be a lot of talk about the ex-Ipswich boys but all of these players – Alan Judge, Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse and Freddie Sears - in my humble opinion would all walk into most division one teams still.

“For us to be able to get them in one hit is a brilliant bit of business for us and it’s an opportunity that’s come up from a manager going into Ipswich and changing things up.

“Paul Cook has gone into Ipswich and is doing his own way, which is completely what will happen.

“I think if Paul Lambert was still there, all of those players would still be there.

“For us to do that will bring so much for our young players which is key and will help us progress and they’ll be learning so much from them.

“They’re all high-end quality players, which I think is brilliant.

“I think it’s been a brilliant window and all of these people have come to our club because they can see what we’re about.

“They’ve not come to Colchester just because it’s down the road.

“It’s their career and you get one career in football.


“Of course, they’re coming to the later stages of their career but with modern science, now 38 and 39 is the new 34 or 35 and people look after themselves more than ever, these days.

“They can see what’s going to happen at the club.

“There’ll be great additions to the group and I think we’ll have a really competitive season.

“We also have Luke Hannant who was one of the best players in division two, last season.

“For him to get a promotion but then come to us and not go up because he saw the exciting challenge is fantastic.

“There’s also Frank Nouble and Cameron Coxe as well and I think all of that combined will bring so much to an already talented group.

“With the balance that we’ve got with players like Junior (Tchamadeu) and Shamal (George) and people like that, I just think it’s going to be a really positive year."